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No need to pucker up for these cucumber pickles

With farmers’ markets and pick-your-own farms either in full swing or just opening, summer’s fruits and vegetables are coming in.

Cucumbers and pickling cucumbers are ready for eating and canning sweet, dill, bread and butter and hot pickles. Oh, do I love those bread and butter pickles.

My grandmother made them, and she would serve them with cooked, fresh vegetables, homemade rolls and cold glasses of unsweetened ice tea. Yes, unsweet tea sounds strange to most Southerners, but unsweet tea is so thirst-quenching, especially with a sprig of mint or two.

Some of my favorite fresh veggies are still not ready: green and speckled butter beans and pink-eyed and crowder peas. Friend Tracey Blease says she isn’t going vegetable picking until the peas and beans are ready. I understand; however, I may go for the okra, squash, Roma tomatoes, snap beans, red potatoes and sweet yellow onions.

I like to fix okra and tomatoes, green beans with red potatoes and creamed yellow squash with cornbread and bread and butter pickles. Now, talk about good eating!

Charlie’s U-Pik in Wiggins and Lucedale is open every day except Sunday. Watermelons and cantaloupes were not ready last weekend on opening day. The folks at both locations have picked some vegetables, so other items are available.

If other pick-your-own farms send me their hours and what’s growing, I will gladly share with readers.

In May, a reader asked for a recipe for cinnamon pickles. She had purchased a jar at Christian Collegiate Academy’s spring festival and wanted a recipe. Lana Robinson of Ocean Springs shares her recipe for green tomato pickles.

“Many years ago, my former neighbor, Dr. Judy Lytle and I made crisp green tomato pickles and I believe this is the recipe your reader is seeking,” Robinson said. “The pickles are crisp and delicious.”

As bread and butter pickles go so well with fresh vegetables, I thought I would share a recipe from a late friend of my grandmother’s. These ladies published a cookbook in 1929. When I need an old-time recipe, “Cedar Bayou Missionary Cookbook 1929” is my go-to cookbook. My late grandmother also had some recipes in the book, so I treasure it.

Cakes made with stevia

Rhonda Hughes of Gulfport would like a good recipe for a yellow cake made with stevia.

I have not cooked with stevia much, so readers I am counting on you to provide the recipe. Hughes also is gluten-free, so the cake must be made with rice or almond flour.

Griller, I am not

A “please-no-name” reader wants help grilling chicken.

“I either burn it or it is not done in the middle,” the reader said. “I love the flavor of grilled chicken and it is so healthy, but I always seem to mess it up.”

Readers, do you have any grilling tips for this ready? Please send them to me.

My suggestion for grilling all meats is a good meat thermometer. I use mine inside and out.

I want my chicken done, and pork and beef not overcooked. I never liked pork until I married my late husband.

What I realized was that most folks overcook pork, which removes the juicy flavor.

GREEN TOMATO PICKLES



5 pounds of green tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 heaping cup slack lime

1-quart water or enough to cover tomatoes

Mix lime and water and pour over tomatoes; let stand 24-hrs. Wash tomatoes carefully and drain off water.


Take:

1-quart vinegar

4 pounds sugar (9 cups)

Stir together; pour over tomatoes and let stand overnight. Into a large pot, pour tomato mixture and add:

1 tablespoon whole cloves

1 container of cinnamon sticks

Bring to a boil. Let boil for 30 minutes. Place in jars and cover with juice mixture (vinegar, sugar, cloves and a 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks). If more liquid is needed, mix 1 cup vinegar and 2 cups sugar.

– Submitted by Lana Robinson



BREAD AND BUTTER PICKLES

8 cucumbers, sliced

2 onions, sliced

Soak several hours in salt water.

Mix:

1 cup vinegar

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 tablespoon mustard seed

1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric

1/2 tablespoon alum

Rinse cucumbers and onions. Put in mixture and boil for 10 minutes. Put in sterilized jars and seal while hot. – “Cedar Bayou Missionary Cookbook 1929”



CUCUMBER PICKLES

Pour hot water over 1/2 bushel of small cucumbers and sprinkle with salt for 3 mornings. The fourth morning wash the cucumbers, pour hot vinegar over them and let them stand for a week or until a scum rises, then wash again and pour over them 2 gallons of vinegar and 1 ounce each of black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, allspice and white mustard seed, 1-pound brown sugar, a little horseradish and a piece of alum the size of a butternut, dissolved in boiling water. Or use 1/4 package of mixed pickle spice to every 5 gallons of pickles. -- “Cedar Bayou Missionary Cookbook 1929”

FREEZER PICKLES

7 cups cucumbers with peel

1 cup bell peppers

1 cup vinegar

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 cup sliced onion

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients and let sit overnight or about 12 hours. Place in sterilized jars and freeze. – From “Cedar Bayou United Methodist Church Sesquicentennial”

Andrea Yeager can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net and Cooks Exchange, 205 DeBuys Road, Gulfport, MS 39507.

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